Senior Tours

Langer aiming to make more Senior Open history

Langer is not planning on ending his career anytime soon

The German earlier this month became the most successful player in PGA Tour Champions history when he triumphed at the U.S. Senior Open, securing his 46th over-50s title and 12th Senior Major Championship.

In doing so, Bernhard Langer also became the oldest winner ever on PGA Tour Champions and he has no plans to retire anytime soon, with this week’s Senior Open providing another opportunity to make more history as he looks to secure a third victory at Royal Porthcawl, after his triumphs in 2014 and 2017.

Famous names in the field

There are a plethora of Major Champions, Ryder Cup Captains and proven DP World Tour and PGA TOUR winners on show in South Wales this week, including defending champion Darren Clarke who last year became only the fourth man to win both The Open and The Senior Open.

Fellow Open Champion Pádraig Harrington, who won back-to-back Claret Jugs in 2007 and 2008, will bid to join Clarke, Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson in that illustrious circle of winners, as will Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year.

The Welsh charge will be led by 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, as well 2021 Senior Open winner Stephen Dodd, who won his maiden Senior Major on Sunningdale’s Old Course and Bradley Dredge who is this week making his Legends Tour debut after turning 50 earlier this month.

The most recent Legends Tour Order of Merit winner, James Kingston, and the reigning Charles Schwab Cup Money champion Steven Alker will also tee it up on the Welsh coastline this week.

Some quotes of the players

Bernhard Langer: “Experience is important, and you know, we have different experiences. I probably have far more experience than most guys that are playing in the field. The reason being is I turned pro when I was 15 and I’ve been playing on tour since I was 18, so I’ve been playing a lot more tournaments than most of these guys even though they are similar age.

“Secondly, if you win tournaments, it breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning, so it helps to have good experiences, positive experiences. If you’ve been a playing pro for 25, 30 years and you’ve just been kind of mediocre, it’s hard to believe that you can win, I imagine, because you have not won anything yet or not a lot.

“That’s why I believe Tiger Woods was so dominant as well. He was used to winning and expected to win every time he teed it up and it made winning easier because that’s basically all he ever did to a large percentage. While you play 50 or 100 tournaments, and you don’t ever win or you’re not in the heat, all of a sudden you get in the heat and on the leaderboard, then it becomes like, oh, what’s going on and you know so it’s hard to cope with that I think. Some do it better than others but that’s just one part.

“I’m 66 in a couple of weeks. I’ve made millions of golf swings. I haven’t changed my swing. So I don’t need to practice and I’ve already done that swing hundreds of thousands of times. Does that make sense? When I was younger, I was still developing, one month working on this, one month working on that. Always changing, always evolving, and even though to you it would look the same.

“The time isn’t right yet. The goal is to win a few more. If I enjoy what I’m doing and still healthy, I’ll keep going. Right now I still feel well and feel like I can compete and if that’s the case, I’ll keep going and whenever the time is right, I hope I will know it and not bore you with an 82 or 84 and that kind of stuff.”

Pádraig Harrington: “The wetter the golf course, the better, but not the wetter conditions we play. If it rains for the week, rain and wind nullifies my driver because you don’t want to get going sideways. You’d be trying to knock it down all the time. If the rain dries up and the course stays soft, and it’s digging in and staying short into the next set of bunkers, that would play into my hands but I didn’t go out on the golf course and think, this is the golf course for me. I’ve turned up at Champions tour events, and gone, this is an ideal course, and if I don’t give myself a great chance of winning, I’m failing here this week. This is a great links golf course. Ball flight, ball shape, the direction you’re hitting, spin rates are all very important in terms of getting out there. It’s not necessarily raw speed that’s going to do the job.

“I was very happy with the game up through three rounds last week, and you know, then I started working on a few things so I’m with where I’m at. I’m looking forward to getting on the golf course and I could do with a few more putts and all professional golfers say that. I’m waiting to get out there and play. It is an interesting course. There’s a staggering of bunkers everywhere, so it’s not — I don’t necessarily go to a golf course and go, this is the one for me, that I can carry all of the trouble. The trouble is staggered nicely, so you’ve just got to play good golf this week. It doesn’t set up as a huge advantage to me, this golf course.”

Darren Clarke: “I’m looking forward to it. The last time played here at Royal Porthcawl was 1988 in the European Team Championships for Ireland, so I’ve sort of forgotten how wonderful the golf course is.

“I think I said last year whenever I did manage to win it, as soon as I turned 50 my goal and my dream was to win the Senior Open, the British Senior Open after winning the main Open, and I was able to change that last year. That being said, I’d dearly love to defend this week. When you walk into Royal Portrush, there’s a display cap there up on the right-hand side and both my replica Claret Jug and replica Senior Claret Jug are sitting side by side.”

Ian Woosnam: “It’s always great to have a major tournament in Wales. We’ve had the Ryder Cup here a couple of times. It’s a great spot. Let’s hope the rain does go over a little bit.

“Depends where the wind is blowing from. If it’s blowing off the sea it’s very difficult, and especially when you play like the second, third, fourth, they are tricky holes but it’s a lovely area. It’s right on the sea as you can see, and it’s a beautiful part of the world.

“I don’t play much golf these days. It’s more of a challenge getting around walking than playing golf but I’ll try my best and see what I can do.”


Famous Sun Mountain Golf Brand gets a Makeover

Sun Mountain, the authentic golf bag, golf cart, travel gear and outerwear company behind many of the game’s most successful product innovations over the past four decades, has undergone a radical brand makeover designed to boost its global growth in coming years.

The new-look Sun Mountain follows the acquisition of the famous company in March last year by the Los Angeles-based Solace Capital Partners private equity firm and the adoption of an ambitious three-year strategic plan intended to maximise the brand’s full sales potential.

“We’re now in a position to drive the brand forward as never before and offer golfers an even greater choice of products in those categories where Sun Mountain is often the clear market leader or leading innovator,” said CEO/President Ed Kowachek, who has been with the company for 38 years. “Our aim has always been to provide golfers with game-changing gear that just keeps getting better and we’re on track to deliver more of the same in the years ahead.

“Thanks to an expanded in-house design team, golfers and our retail partners across Europe and Scandinavia can look forward to seeing even more new lines reflecting the quality of our functional Ahead of Time designs, high-end materials and manufacturing attention to detail in a wider selection of options,” he added.

Sun Mountain has been the #1 or #2 golf bag brand in the U.S. since 2007, with the record-breaking C-130 cart bag currently the top-selling model. First to introduce a bag with an integrated stand mechanism, its pioneering Eclipse model became a record seller.

It was also the first brand to launch a fully waterproof bag that became known in Europe as the H2NO, followed by other notable landmarks such as the E-Z Fit Dual Strap System a decade ago, the 14-way club divider and the Eco-Lite bags made using fabric from 25 recycled plastic bottles released in 2019.

H2NO Litespeed stand bag

The award-winning travel gear includes the ultra-manoeuvrable ClubGlider range and the compact Kube carrier that are market-leading club transport bags; while the trendsetting   3-wheeled push carts feature the popular Speed Cart V1R and PX3 models, plus a host of accessories; and the golfing outerwear range designed to extend the playing season for men and women includes the most technically advanced and stylish jackets, pants and pullovers.

For more details of the Sun Mountain ranges, visit

Text: Sun Mountain

Ladies Tours

The Amundi Evian Championship: A unique Reference Point in the Women’s Game

Golf’s first Major to be staged in continental Europe, The Amundi Evian Championship is a reference point in the women’s game. Nestled between the pristine shores of Lake Geneva and the majestic summits of the Alps, the Evian Resort Golf Club in France offers a venue befitting this Major championship and the talent of its field. Each year, the world’s finest players take on the Champions Course to showcase their exceptional skills, with this year’s edition held from 27–30 July.

The Success Story of the Amundi Evian Championship”

First played in 1994, the tournament has grown in stature year-on-year, constructing its own history. Rolex has been a Main Partner and Official Timekeeper at The Amundi Evian Championship since 2000, as part of a broad and enduring commitment to women’s golf that dates back to 1980, when the Swiss watchmaker became a partner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

The Amundi Evian Championship has been the stage of many triumphs for Rolex Testimonees, including two-time champion Annika Sörenstam (2000, 2002). Widely regarded as one of the best golfers in the history of the women’s game, she set a benchmark of excellence to which the modern generation can aspire.

Reflecting on her experiences there, Annika Sörenstam said: “It was one of my favourite tournaments on the LPGA Tour. The championship showcases the incredibly beautiful landscapes of Evian-les-Bains and the quality of the services surrounding the golf is first class. The course requires great technical skill and control over your game. It is less about power and more about accuracy as the fairways are quite undulating.”

Seeking to emulate the Swede and win a second crown at Évian-les-Bains will be fellow Testimonee Brooke Henderson. The Canadian returns as defending champion, having captured the second Major title of her career last year, and in the process, becoming the first LPGA player to begin any Major with successive rounds of 64.

Speaking ahead of this year’s tournament, Brooke Henderson said: “Competing at any Major championship is always difficult – both physically and mentally. At The Amundi Evian Championship, the conditions are different to any other golf course due to the differing size of slopes which makes it a very challenging week. Despite this, I had a great strategy in 2022 which allowed me to go really far under par in the first two rounds which was really exciting. It was a dream come true to be able to push on and win the trophy on the Sunday afternoon. Winning my second Major championship was a really special moment and one that I will always remember. I am really looking forward to returning this year.”

Rolex’s Enduring Commitment to Women’s Golf

Other Testimonees to have triumphed at this visually stunning venue include Lydia Ko (2015), Suzann Pettersen (2013) and Anna Nordqvist (2017). Lydia Ko said: “The Amundi Evian Championship will always remain special to me as it is where I won my first Major championship. When I play at the event, I almost feel like I am playing in front of my family as the crowds are extremely supportive. It would be extremely special to join fellow Rolex Testimonee Annika Sörenstam as having won the tournament more than once. This is definitely a big motivation and I will try to achieve the feat at this year’s edition. I was proud of the way I played at the 2022 tournament but fellow Rolex Testimonee Brooke Henderson truly excelled and deserved the win.” 

Rolex has been a committed partner of women’s golf for more than 40 years as part of one of the most successful relationships between a brand and sport. This enduring partnership contributes to the game’s development around the world. The Swiss watchmaker is part of the very fabric of golf and supports the game at all levels, including elite and legends of the game, Major championships – including all five women’s Majors – the foremost professional tours and the world’s leading team competitions, among them the Solheim Cup.

Built on a strong sense of integrity, respect for tradition that promotes the continuity of expertise and transfer of knowledge, and an appreciation of the importance to invest in the sport’s development for future generations, Rolex’s support also extends to amateur tournaments, international federations and organizations representing golfers of all ages.

(Text: rolex)

Top Tours

British Open 2023 target of climate activists “Just Stop Oil

On the second day of the British Open 2023, despite efforts by the organizers, some climate activists from the protest group “Just Stop Oil” made it onto the grounds of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Using orange paint, the four individuals targeted the 17th green of the golf course.

British Open 2023: Billy Horschel helps police with “Just Stop Oil” protest

On the morning of the second round, the four activists from the climate group “Just Stop Oil”, who have already caused a stir at other sporting events such as Wimbledon, arrived on the grounds of the Open Championship. On the 17th green, one activist threw orange paint in the direction of the course. Shortly after, however, she was already taken into police custody with the help of Billy Horschel. His flight was about to putt on the short par 3 during the action.

After the incident, the R&A released a brief statement on the incident. “A protester was quickly apprehended on the 17th hole and is one of 4 people who have been arrested by the police. Play was not disrupted and we would like to thank the marshals, players and other spectators for their vigilance and understanding as the protestors were removed.”

R&A and police already prepared for protest actions

Police have already been working in advance with the organizing R&A on plans for incidents of this nature to minimize disruption to match operations, visitors and local residents. “The public should be prepared for the police to maintain a high presence throughout the event as we complement and support other security agencies. There are a number of plans and processes in place to deal with any incidents and prevent significant or ongoing disruption to spectators, residents and businesses,” said local police Chief Superintendent Mark Wiggins.


The Open 2023: Bunkers adjusted, made easier for the players

In the first round, the pros at the 2023 Open Championship had to contend with the treacherous pot bunkers at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. For round 2, the conditions were adjusted.

The deep pot bunkers are characteristic of the links courses in Scotland. The steep bunker walls give players a hard time on such courses anyway. Not infrequently, bad luck adds to the problem, so that a normal stance is not an option when playing out of the bunker. So the players have to get creative, play with one leg and in the worst case play back towards the tee. Complicating matters further is the sloping topography of the greens towards the bunkers, which causes balls to roll towards the sand time and time again.

Even some professionals despair of the challenging obstacles at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Justin Thomas, for example, ended his first round with a 9 on the par-5 18th because he was unable to free himself from a tricky bunker location.

Adjusting the bunkers at the 2023 Open Championship

In addition to sloping greens and steep bunker walls, the subsoil in particular poses a special challenge for the pros. The greenkeeping team has smoothed out the bottoms of the bunkers in preparation for the British Open 2023, so that the balls stay in tricky positions in the corners of the bunkers. With dry conditions in mind, the greenkeeping team was asked to adjust the bottoms of the bunkers after the completion of the first round.

The R&A explained, “We would like to inform you that we have adjusted the way the bunkers are raked overnight. Yesterday afternoon the bunkers dried out more than they have in recent weeks, and this resulted in more balls being left directly against the walls than we would normally expect. (…) We routinely rake the bunkers flat at most Open venues, but we decided this adjustment was appropriate given the drier conditions that occurred yesterday. We will continue to monitor this closely for the remainder of the championship.”

For now, then, it’s a case of breathing a sigh of relief for the players at the British Open. With a little luck, such hopeless situations as there were in the first round can be avoided.

Highlights Tours

Historic Hole-in-One at the British Open 2023

Loud cheers on the 17th in Liverpool. Travis Smyth holes the first hole-in-one of the 2023 British Open, which is also the first hole-in-one in history on the newly designed 17 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Although the Australian has no chance of making the cut after two rounds, he nevertheless ends his experience at the British Open 2023 with an absolute highlight.

From double bogey to ace

After Smyth conceded a double bogey on the “Little Eye” the previous day by botching three tee shots before hitting the green, he turned his tee shot on the par-3 today into an ace from about 130 yards. As quickly as the ball disappeared into the hole, those in attendance could hardly look.

Top Tours

Open Championship 2023: Who will defy the weather?

The British Open is one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments in the world. It will be held this year at the Royal Liverpool Golf Course. The weather conditions on the rugged coast of Great Britain will in itself have a major impact on the tournament, but rain or storms can make the already demanding links course even more challenging for the professionals.

Weather forecast for the Open Championship 2023

The golf course has been through almost every weather condition in the past week. There have been thunderstorms, heavy rains, lots of wind and even the sun has made an appearance once. At least the start of the tournament is supposed to stay mostly dry.

Thursday, 20.07.

The tournament will start with a mostly sunny day and possible small showers.

Friday, 21.07.

On the day of the decision, who will be allowed to continue the weekend, it will be very cloudy with again small rainfalls.

Saturday, 22.07.

In the night from Friday to Saturday there may be heavier rain. On Moving Day, rain is expected to be almost continuous, easing during the day.

Sunday, 23.07.

On the final day, light showers are expected again and there may even be thunderstorms. On the other hand, the wind will drop a bit.

Can we rely on the forecast?

No. Especially in Great Britain, the weather is very erratic and can change every minute. Even professional golfers like Jon Rahm, don’t pay very much attention to the forecast. “We’re in England. We’re right next to the Channel, too. I don’t really look at the forecast because it changes so quickly. I hope we still see certain weather conditions because it’s the Open. There will always be wind. Hopefully the rain will stay away, but there will always be a period that favors some more than others. It doesn’t look like it’s going to play extremely fast or extremely firm because the rain and some of the humidity should stay, but you never know. I think it will play similar to 2014.”

Impact of weather conditions on the tournament and players

The weather in Liverpool can play a crucial role during The Open Championship. Rain can soften the ground on links golf courses and affect ball roll speed. The strong and unpredictable wind can affect the trajectory of the balls and pose tactical challenges to the golfers. Players will need to adapt to the changes and adjust their shots accordingly to be successful.

The 2023 Open Championship promises to be a compelling tournament on the links course near Liverpool. Weather conditions could play an important role and increase the challenges for the players. With the right preparations, golfers can bring out the best in each other. It is sure to be a tournament full of excitement, skill and fascinating moments as the best golfers in the world compete for the coveted title.

Top Tours

This is why Rory McIlroy wins the Open Championship

Ever since his success at the Scottish Open, Rory McIlroy has been the clear favorite for this year’s Open Championship in Liverpool. We take a look at what speaks for him and who could challenge him for the title.

A Rory McIlroy in top form at the Open Championship

At the beginning of the year, there seemed to be nothing that the Northern Irishman couldn’t win. But then the outside pressure mounted, it was as much about LIV and the PGA Tour as it was about sporting success, and McIlroy seemed to have reached his limit. The results failed to materialize, and time out was necessary, even from the Elevated events, which he had promised to participate in when they were first conceived. But with June 6 and the negotiated merger between the PGA and PIF, the pressure is also falling off. What happens at tour level is no longer his business, McIlroy thinks to himself, and plays as freely as he did at the beginning of the year. A second place at the US Open in June was the first bright spot, then the links victory last week. The signs are all pointing to McIlroy.

The fact that he is the last Champion Golfer of the Year to be named at Royal Liverpool further helps his odds. And let’s not forget the duel against Cam Smith at the 2022 Open Championship. McIlroy’s colleagues also know that the 34-year-old is a force to be reckoned with this week. Last year’s triumphant Cam Smith, for example, said. “There are a lot of guys who, if the week goes well, can be up there on Sunday. I’m sure Rory is one of them.” For Jon Rahm, McIlroy is also the main favorite. “If I had to pick one player, it would be Rory,” he said in an interview with Mercedes Benz. Matt Fitzpatrick even expresses a tiny bit of jealousy at the four-time major winner’s outstanding form. “I think everyone would like to play golf the way Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler are doing right now. But that’s pretty rare for the rest of us.”

The unbeatable Scottie Scheffler

If there is anyone who can outperform Rory McIlroy in terms of form, it is Scottie Scheffer. You’ll look in vain for a missed cut this year and all season for the world No. 1. His worst finish in 2023 is a split 12th.If there isn’t at least a top 10 for him this week, it almost has to be a disappointment. In his last ten major appearances, Scheffer missed the cut only once and finished outside the top 10 only once, but that was at the 2022 British Open. At St. Andrews, the currently unbeatable Scheffler apparently found his master. But he showed that he has no problems with links golf per se with a shared third place at the Scottish Open last week.

The defending champion Cameron Smith

Not to be forgotten, of course, is the defending champion. When Cameron Smith handed the Claret Jug back to Martin Slumbers of the R&A, he reluctantly let the trophy go. “I’ll just win it again,” he jousted. Even though Smith’s Ripper GC is only in the lower midfield of the LIV Golf League, things look very different for the captain. He ranks second in the season standings behind only Talor Gooch after his win in London. In addition, he boasts four top 10 results, an eleventh place finish and a twelfth place finish. His major record this year is not without its problems either. Although T34 at the Masters, where he particularly shone in previous years, the trend developed positively: T9 at the PGA Championship, 4th place at the US Open, what will he achieve at the Royal Liverpool?

The fiery Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm also looked unstoppable at the beginning of the year. Since the spring and his Masters win, however, he’s cooled off a bit. More breaks, results good enough to keep him in the top 3 in the world, but not to challenge Scheffler for the top spot. He is well aware of that himself, he explained before the tournament. “Obviously Rory and Scotty are more the favorites because they’ve been playing better lately, but I’m glad people still think I have a chance.” At the same time, he said, his expectations of himself are probably higher than what people on the outside think of him. “Whether people think you’re going to win or not, I’m still coming here to win.” He’s already won one major this year, and a second would definitely be in the cards.

Honourable Mentions

But, as Jon Rahm also says, “This is golf, all 150 of us have a chance.” Figures like Rickie Fowler, with chances to win the US Open and end his winless streak are also aiming for the title, as is Brooks Koepka, who has major title number 6 in his sights, but has had very inconsistent results at the Open Championship so far. With Tommy Fleetwood, who finished T4 behind Rory McIlroy last year and T6 last week, standing just as high with the bookmakers as world No. 5 Viktor Hovland, with whom Fleetwood shared fourth place in 2022. But in the end, there can only be one Champion Golfer of the Year 2023.

Brands Equipment

Callaway Golf and Jon Rahm announce long-term partnership extension

Today Callaway Golf, one of the industry’s leaders in golf equipment design, performance, and innovation, and Jon Rahm, one of the best players in the world, announced a new long-term partnership extension.

Rahm joined Callaway in 2021 and earned his first major championship win at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which moved him to Number One in the World Golf Rankings. He won three more times in 2022 and has continued his remarkable run of form this season. Jon leads the PGA TOUR with four wins in 2023, highlighted by his second major championship in April at Augusta, where he delivered a masterful performance to secure the Green Jacket.

Jon Rahm also on the road with Callaway in 2024

Rahm will continue to play a full bag of Callaway and Odyssey equipment, wear Callaway headwear, TravisMathew apparel and footwear, and support Topgolf’s global golf entertainment venue business. Topgolf Callaway Brands Corp. (NYSE: MODG) will leverage this partnership towards the Company’s strategic goal of strengthening its position as the leader in golf equipment globally, as well as its leadership positions across the modern golf ecosystem.

“I’m so happy to continue this incredible relationship with Callaway and I truly have played the best golf of my career with their equipment,” Rahm said in a provided statement. “From the driver to the golf ball, they continue to set the bar higher with every new product line, and I’m looking forward to many more great years with their team.”

“We’re so proud to have Jon on our staff, and we couldn’t be more excited about this extension of our long-term partnership,” said Topgolf Callaway Brands President & CEO, Chip Brewer. “Jon is an amazing talent, and he’s driven to be one of the very best to ever play the game. Equally important, he is a man of strong integrity and a brand ambassador who shares our passion for making a positive impact on our global sport. It’s a pleasure to work with him, and we look forward to focusing our considerable resources on his continued success.”

This extension includes an equity position for Rahm in Topgolf Callaway Brands, a position that both aligns the Company’s interests and demonstrates Jon’s confidence in the strategic direction of the Modern Golf family of TCB Corp Brands.

Top Tours

From Tigers to Triumphs: Jon Rahm on Golfing Greats, Driving Stress, and Carlos Alcaraz’s Inspiration

Jon Rahm, preparing for his first Open at Royal Liverpool, has positive memories of the course from a previous tournament. He reflects on Tiger Woods’ 2006 win, adapting his strategy to the course conditions. Rahm hopes to be the first Spaniard since Severiano Ballesteros to claim the Claret Jug. He looks forward to the passionate fan support and acknowledges Rory McIlroy’s strong form. Rahm seeks advice from past champions and fondly recalls winning the Masters. With the Ryder Cup ahead, he’s focused on winning. Rahm admires fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz’s tennis success, providing inspiration for his golf performance.

Jon Rahm speaks ahead of the 151. Open Championship

This is your first Open at Royal Liverpool. Have you had a chance to play here before as a junior or amateur or have you had the chance to practice much? What are your impressions of the course?

Jon Rahm: I played 18 today and I played a Brabazon trophy here. I can’t remember the year, it was a good 11, 12, 13 years ago. It’s funny because a lot of the names in that tournament on the leaderboard are names that you see nowadays. I liked it from the beginning, it was one of my first experiences of links golf. It’s a little bit different to what we play in The Open rotation. Those fairway bunkers, a lot more penal, a lot of those greenside bunkers, a lot more penal. You have to obviously hit it really well. Tee to green, it’s a bit of added pressure. It’s a lot of holes, we’re on hole 14 right now. This 14th hole is a very difficult second shot, hole 12 very difficult tee shot and second shot. At first
glance I am surprised of how low they’ve shot here in the past, but really happy because I like the golf course.

Famously, Tiger Woods’ only hit his driver once over four days when he won at Hoylake in 2006, even with quite benign winds. What will be your approach to playing this course?

Jon Rahm: It was very dry and firm and yellow that year, you could get away with not hitting drivers in a lot of holes. Today, I played early, it was wet. There were some holes where I hit drivers and I didn’t get into any bunkers. I was hitting it on the same spots he was hitting the irons. I understand what he was trying to do, which is basically keep it just short of the bunkers and take on with longer clubs that give himself a more percentage shot. When the Greens are firm, it makes sense, have a little bit more control of the fairway. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. The game has evolved since then. When Rory played and won in 2014, he hit a lot of drivers. It is getting to a point nowadays where if you can hit a driver, you’re going to have to. Not only because of you, but somebody is going to be able to do it. It’s a little bit different game than what was played in 2006.

Jon Rahm not afraid of conditions: “It’s England”

Conditions are key to how an Open venue plays – what do you make of the forecast weather and speed of the course going into the week?

Jon Rahm: It’s England. It’s right next to the channel too. I don’t really look at what the forecast says because it changes so fast. I’m hoping we still see certain weather conditions because it’s The Open. There’s always going to be a wind. Hopefully rain is fair but there’s always going to be a wave that’s benefited one more than the other. It doesn’t look like it’s going to play extremely fast or extremely firm just because the rain and a little bit of the moisture should stay around but you never know. I think it’s going to play somewhat similar to what it did in 2014.

What would it mean to you to claim the Claret Jug as the first Spaniard since Severiano Ballesteros
in 1988?

Jon Rahm: Any time you can do something for the first time since Seve did it, it’s obviously a very big deal. It’s crazy that Sergio Garcia and Ollie (José María Olazábal), many other great players that had a chance, didn’t get to do it for Spain, but it’s not easy. I would be a true honour to be able to join Seve’s (Severiano Ballesteros) name on that list of The Open champions. Even aside from that, just being able to call yourself an Open champion is so unique, so special. To me, it is the most prestigious tournament we have in golf and there’s nothing like it.

“We are expecting over 250,000 passionate fans”

We are expecting over 250,000 passionate fans to cheer you on here this week – what are your expectations about the special atmosphere when the Open comes to Liverpool?

Jon Rahm: It’s always amazing when we come to this side of the world. The respect and knowledge for the game is so much higher than anywhere else and the fans know it. The only tournament in the world where we get celebrated for hitting a shot, sometimes even a wedge hit to 30 feet, just because they understand the conditions and how difficult it can be. You just hit it on the green no matter where you are, most of the time you will get claps. Sometimes you make a five or a bogey and they understand that it was a good five. It’s different and it’s really, really fun to play here.

Although Rory won here in 2014 and arrives here this week with a win at the Scottish Open and some recent strong finishes at the US PGA and US Open, many have you down as the favourite to win. How do you manage the pressure going into a Major?

Jon Rahm: Whatever people say, it doesn’t a really make a difference. Most likely I am going to have higher expectations than most people have about me either way. Luckily, I’ve been playing good for the last few years, I’ve heard that a few times, so you get used to it. Whether people think, if you’re going to win or not, I still come out here to win. Obviously, Rory and Scotty might be more of a favourite because they’ve been playing better lately, but I’m glad people still think I have a chance.

Which other players in the field do you think have the game and the momentum to perform well this week?

“If I have to say one player, you have to say Rory”

Jon Rahm: It’s golf, all 150 of us have a chance. That’s a beautiful thing about this game. When you tee off on Thursday, we’re all on equal ground and that’s it, weather aside. There’s a difference in weather, but nobody would have expected, let’s say, Tom Watson to do as well as he did in 2009, Greg Norman to do as well as he did in 2008 in Birkdale. Those are the circumstances that you can’t foresee and can only happen in Open golf. If I have to say one player, you have to say Rory (Rory McIlroy) because of what he did last week and how he is playing this year.

Ahead of adapting your game to links golf, do you chat to any of your fellow players or friends on tour about the best strategies for posting a low score at The Open?

Jon Rahm: I like to get advice from past champions and players that have done well. We all hit the golf ball in a different way, we all play golf a different way, but there’s always little things that you can learn. It’s always nice to ask for a little bit of advice to see what they consider they did well that week or what they think that needs to be done.

Three months down the road of another stellar year for you. Can you share some more reflections on winning the Masters?

Jon Rahm: Sometimes I still wake up in the morning and realize that I won the Masters this year. It’s crazy. The one thing I keep thinking about is just being able to join my other three fellow major champions from. Becoming part of the fraternity of golfers is very special. The only major that is played on the same golf course every year. It is a bit of a different feeling to it, just because we all know the golf course and just to come out on top is very special for me. If we’re talking especially about the week, just the weather conditions I had to deal with and then play as good as I did is what makes it so special.

After the last Major of 2023, all eyes will turn to the Ryder Cup and you will be a leading figure in the European team. What are your thoughts and expectations looking ahead to Rome in September?

Jon Rahm: My thoughts: Winning. Expectations: Winning. That’s all I can say. It’s such a fun event. It’s so different to what we do throughout the year. To be able to represent our continent, our countries, and play golf for European golf and do an exhibition. At the end of the day, it is an exhibition. Nobody’s getting paid and we’re playing for the love of the game and the love of our nations. It’s a lot of fun to be able to be a part of that. We have teammates celebrating with each other and we’re looking forward to getting that cup back to European soil.

“Hat’s off, his future is very, very, very bright”

For many people, a good way to unwind and relax is to take themselves off on a drive. What car are you driving here this week? Are you able to carve out any time to hit the road for some headspace or are the demands of a Major pretty all encompassing?

Jon Rahm: I have a Mercedes-Benz GLS this week. It’s not relaxing when I’m driving on the other side of the road. It’s very stressful but after a few days, you get used to it. In my case, my favourite car to drive is still at home. I know it’s not the most popular choice, but it is still the G-Wagon. That’s what I’m going to keep driving until I can get my hands on the EQG. It’s still a G-Wagon but a little different one.

Carlos Alcaraz made history yesterday at Wimbledon in a thrilling win over Novak Djokovic. You must feel proud to see the success of your fellow Spanish sport star – hopefully providing some extra energy and inspiration going into this important week for you? Have you ever met Carlos and if so, can you describe your relationship?

Jon Rahm: I’ve not met him but I followed his career. The last few years have been incredible, to be the youngest number one tennis player in the world. This isn’t likely with the three great players we had ahead and with Rafa’s (Rafael Nadal) shadow on Spanish tennis as well. To go and win the US Open and now Wimbledon and still stay the number one with Novak playing at the level he’s been playing. His first final on Centre Court and Wimbledon and beat basically, and this is hard for me to say as a Rafa fan, the best player ever in tennis after losing the first set six to one is quite incredible. The determination and strength he showed in all those sets, even after losing the fourth and come back in the fifth one and get it done was quite impressive. Hat’s off, his future is very, very, very bright. As a tennis fan, you’re kind of wondering, Rafa is coming to an end, Federer is done, Djokovic obviously might have a few years left. Alcaraz might be the next big thing, for somebody like him to come up and just burst into the scene like that was very, very special. So I’m really happy for him and hopefully he has a very long and great career.
Interview distributed by Mercedes Benz